The new dean of London’s St Paul’s Cathedral has said that the Church of England should embrace civil gay marriage.
Rev Dr David Ison, bucking the recent trend of aggressive attacks over the plans from Church leaders in the UK, said the church should welcome gay people and allow them to participate in what he termed “the virtues of marriage” that are quite separate from the legal aspects. He went on to distinguish that the Church should be thinking of allowing same-sex couples to partake in ”Christian marriage,” rather than talking about homosexual and heterosexual marriages.
“We need to take seriously people’s desire for partnership and make sure that the virtues that you see in married relationships are available to people who are gay,” he said.
“You can regard two Christian gay people as wanting to have the virtues of Christian marriage,” he said.
“For Christian gay people to model that kind of faithfulness, in a culture which, historically, has often been about promiscuity, is a very good thing to do.”
He added that gay couples should also be allowed to adopt children: “I think that … anyone who can provide a loving, stable, caring home should be able to adopt.”
Asked whether the government was right to change the law on gay marriage, Ison said a commitment to being together was “the best pattern for how to flourish if you’re going to be in a relationship … whether you’re gay or straight.”
He added: “Marriage doesn’t belong to the Church.”
Ison, newly appointed by the Queen this week, finds with this statement that he stands in opposition to the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, who recently implied PM David Cameron was acting like a “dictator” for pushing ahead with plans to allow civil same-sex marriage.
Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali this week also spoke out against gay marriage saying that any government assurances that churches would not have to solemnize or otherwise recognize marriage equality could not be trusted.
Cardinal Keith O’Brien has also recently had to defend comments he made that legalizing civil same-sex marriage is the same as legalizing slavery.